Agricultural Technology lecturer Dr. Rachma Wikandari was named the 2022 Young Scientist Award winner by the International Union of Food Science & Technology (IUFoST). The award was given at the 21st World Congress of Food Science and Technology in Singapore on Monday (3/11).

As a recipient of the award, Rachma had to present his research on mycoproteins to 1,200 delegates from 60 countries. In her work, Rachma developed a meat substitute from filamentous fungi that were cultivated in leftover soybean cooking water.

“The current trend in the food sector is to look for protein alternatives. It is estimated that by 2050 the world’s population will reach 9 billion people while at the same time, agricultural land will no longer expand. So, we have to find a way to get new food,” he explained.

Currently, mycoprotein is still expensive. With soybean cooking water, Rachma can produce quality mycoprotein at a low price.

“By utilizing food waste in food production, we can overcome environmental problems while increasing food security,” said Rachma.

IUFoST is a country-membership organization that promotes the advancement of global food science and technology. The organization hosted the biennial World Food Congress this year with the Singapore Institute of Food Science & Technology (SIFST).

Rachma Wikandari is the second Indonesian to receive this award since it was first awarded in 2006. She received the award along with representatives from seven other countries, Singapore, Taiwan, Switzerland, New Zealand, India, China, and Sweden.

“Developing countries with all their limitations can also win international awards if they use the right strategy, such as emphasizing more on applications and contributions to solving problems around them and linking them to global issues,” she said.

Rachma was the Indonesian delegate to the Codex Committee on Food Labeling in 2021. She recently picked up an award from UGM for the best publication in agriculture. Currently, she serves as chair of the editorial board of agriTECH.

Author: Gloria